My mom can somehow always tell exactly what I'm thinking before I even say a word.
We listen to each other, and we're genuinely focused on each other's best interests at all times. There's no one else on earth who will support you the way your mother does.
And there is nobody else on earth with whom I feel such a strong connection.
My friends are all amazing, inspiring personalities who shape my life every day. They pick me up when I'm down, give me solid advice when needed, and encourage me to be my best self.
But what makes my mom my best friend, and not just my mother, is I would not be who I am today if it weren't for her.
And what makes her such a great mom is she loves me more than anything. No one will ever love you as much as your mother does.
She knows when I need her
We finished unpacking my entire life into 96 square feet -- my clothes, books and photographs all placed perfectly into my freshmen dorm as if it were my room back home.
When I rented my first apartment two years later, she transformed it from a dump into a king's castle.
How my mother managed to create these beautiful suites out of such dingy rooms, I'll never know. I could never have done it without her.
Even though I refused to say it, she knew how much I needed her in those moments. I was leaving the nest and trying to declare my independence; the last thing I wanted at 18 years old was my new roommates and neighbors seeing my mother cleaning my dorm room floors and putting my underwear in a drawer.
And, now that I think about it, I bet that was the last thing she wanted to be doing, too.
Her love is unconditional
Her help in those moments was an unspoken promise she made to me the day I was born: My mother has my back in anything I do, and will support every choice I make.
And it's not a one-way street. I have supported my mother through her own personal struggles as well.
Even though she tries to stay strong throughout the toughest situations so I'm not affected by it, I can immediately sense when she needs me. I'm the first person she calls when she's going through a tough situation and needs to vent.
Even in my darkest moments, my mother has always remained one of the brightest lights in my life. Through every breakup, heartache and struggle I have faced, I did it with my mom right by my side, helping me along the way any chance she had.
Because of her, I've never actually been alone, no matter how lonely I've felt at times.
Her lessons are priceless
She's taught me the most precious lessons in my life. I will never forget the importance of relationships and my family because of her; she's engrained in me the priceless value of these two things.
Through her, I learned how to be strong when I felt weak, how to love when I felt hatred and how to be a man when I needed to stand up and take responsibility.
My core values in life -- my moral code and my acceptance of everyone I encounter -- are all attributed to my mother.
I have learned how to be incredibly patient in getting what I want in life. I used to be so preoccupied on a daily basis with what comes next.
What grade will I get on my next exam? Where will I work next? How am I going to keep up with the bills this month? These used to be questions that would eat away at my sanity and keep me up most nights.
Now, when I start to worry, I think of my mother. I remember how she was right around my age when she met my father. She helped him get through college while working full time herself.
As I grew up and my dad had to travel for work, my mom would play the role of both parents.
She would effortlessly transition from being the maternal, loving woman I know into a leader who instructed my brothers and me to work hard, help her cook and clean and show some respect.
She is truly capable of just about anything she puts her mind to, and that, in itself, is one of the most inspiring things about this woman.
No matter where I go in life, I'll always have a piece of her with me
So many friends have come and gone throughout my life. Some people just aren't meant to stay by your side forever.
That isn't true about a mother.
My mom is with me everywhere I go; I take her lessons, love and protection with me to every city I explore, every adventure I embark on and every chapter I start anew.
Her inspiration is the strongest force in my life. She challenges me, encourages me and supports me through everything, whether she knows it or not.